Heat advisory issued for Central Zone; fire hazard high

A heat advisory has been issued for Central Alberta by Alberta Health Services. AHS said it was issuing the advisory for the region due to elevated temperatures forecast over the next few days. The advisory went into effect at noon on Friday and extends for 72 hours.

A heat advisory has been issued for Central Alberta by Alberta Health Services.

AHS said it was issuing the advisory for the region due to elevated temperatures forecast over the next few days. The advisory went into effect at noon on Friday and extends for 72 hours.

Environment Canada’s forecast for the next few days included a high of 28C on Friday, 31 on Saturday, 33 on Sunday and 29 on Monday.

Residents and visitors to the region are advised to take the following precautions to protect themselves from the potentially harmful effects of the sun (including burns, heat-related exhaustion and heat stroke):

l Consider rescheduling outdoor activities to cooler hours of the day.

l Take frequent breaks from heat, spending time indoors at cooled public buildings (including malls or indoor pools).

l Drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages to stay hydrated.

l Do not leave any person or pet inside a closed vehicle.

l Apply a sunscreen of at least sun protection factor (SPF) 30, at least 20 minutes before heading outdoors. Be sure the SPF 30 screens out both UVA and UVB rays, and reapply frequently (as directed on product label).

l Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses (with a UVA/UVB CSA certified seal).

l Wear light-coloured long-sleeved shirts and pants that cover skin.

Residents and visitors should also monitor for symptoms of heat stroke, including high body temperature, lack of sweat, disorientation, fainting, and unconsciousness.

“Normal activity that may be safe on a cool day might be dangerous in current weather conditions. If you start to feel overheated, stop your activity immediately, seek shade and drink fluids,” advises Dr. Ifeoma Achebe, medical officer of health for the Central Zone.

“Seek medical attention immediately for any individual feeling faint. While awaiting medical attention, move the individual to a shaded area, and remove his or her outer clothing and shoes. You should also wrap the person in a wet towel until medical care is being provided.”

Particular vigilance is urged for vulnerable individuals, including children, seniors, individuals with pre-existing respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, outdoor workers, as well as those who are socially isolated.

“Excessive heat can aggravate underlying medical illness such as congestive heart failure, and can also be of heightened danger to children and seniors. Individuals who are socially isolated may not know when or how to seek help, or be able to monitor their own symptoms,” says Achebe.

For more information and advice, including as specific to seniors, children, individuals with pre-existing respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, and outdoor workers, visit: http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/heat.asp. Albertans can also contact Health Link at 811, for general heat-related health advice and information.

Meanwhile, the wildfire hazard in the Rocky Forest Management Area has risen to high as a result of the persistent heat and dryness.

And Kris Heemeryck, wildfire prevention officer with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, expects things to heat up over the weekend with forecasted temperatures in the West Country in the high 20s to low 30s Celcius.

Other than a fire burning in the O’Chiese First Nation dump, there were no other fires in the management area.

There has been scattered precipitation and earlier rainfall had reduced the fire hazard, Heemeryck said, who is based in Rocky Mountain House.

He said the forest could be in the high wildfire hazard range by Sunday but presently there were no fire bans.

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